Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario, the chairperson of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Senior Officials’ Meeting this week said they are all ready for the arrival of the world’s most powerful leaders and other officials.
In a press briefing at the International Media Center on Sunday, del Rosario said they are prepared up to the minute details until the conclusion of the event.
“We’ve been ready in terms of everything—the venues, even the specific rooms at the PICC (Philippine International Convention Center) where each event will happen. I think you know that aside from the APEC Leaders’ Retreat, there will be an informal conversation between the Pacific Alliance leaders and the APEC leaders. So we’re preparing for that also. It’s another venue within PICC,” said the official.
Del Rosario added that even for the other senior government officials’ meetings, the agenda and the scenarios have also been mapped out.
“Our four priorities this year: regional economic integration, sustainable and resilient communities, encouraging business especially the small ones to be part of the global markets, and of course, human capital investment,” she said.
According to del Rosario, they have also scheduled a “face-to-face drafting” of the Leaders’ statement as well as the Joint Ministers’ statement.
“That means it’s almost like negotiating the language. And we couldn’t do that until we have passed all the endorsed — all the documents that we wanted to endorse,” she explained.
Del Rosario also said that the absence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indonesian President Joko Widodo should not dampen the outcome of the event because the two leaders will send equally powerful officials in their behalf.
“I don’t want people to read too much into why a leader cannot attend. Because for instance in the case of Russia, Russia is sending its Prime Minister (Dmitry) Medvedev who was the president of Russia in 2008 to 2012. So, in effect, that level is also something that I think deserves recognition that Russia is really — it finds APEC very important,” the official said.
“In the case of Indonesia, Vice President (Jusuf) Kalla is known as one of the most ablest, you know, executives and politicians of Indonesia, and we welcome really his participation in APEC and I know that he will be—he will contribute a lot in the discussions of the issues before APEC,” del Rosario added.
Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs official noted that the visit of President Xi Jinping will be seen as a “symbolic act” on the part of China in recognizing the importance of APEC.
“It will also show the rest of APEC the role and importance of APEC in the region and China is one of (the) active players in APEC. It will also send also the message across the region that APEC — I mean, that all of us are working as a team and as a forum together to address our common economic security concerns,” she emphasized.